it was the night I sold my first screenplay

It was the night I sold my first screenplay. It was small movie that wasn’t to bring me much money but it was everything in the world to me. It had been a long time in the works. They had it for six months before they decided to buy it. I personally never believed it was going to happen for a second. I don’t know why but I’ve always been suspicious of Californians and not New Yorkers. I’ve got about a hundred book and story rejections from New York and my very first movie got taken by the very first producer that saw it in Hollywood. I guess I’ve been naïve.

My friend Dexter came over the night it happened. He was a good friend. He was always friendly when I needed it and not so friendly when I needed that. The whole year that I was waiting for my movie to get bought or unbought he kept saying, “It’s gonna happen.” And if I complained about my lack of success, he would say, “Don’t be such a jerk.” So you can see what a good guy he was.

He brought a bottle of Berlucchi to me. This is champagne from Italy. Except that champagne can’t be from Italy because it’s a place in France. But you probably know that already so I’ll tell you something more interesting that I know because I’m almost-Mexican. Tequila is just mezcal from the Tequila region of Mexico. It’s the same thing as champagne. Mezcal from anywhere but Tequila is just plain old mezcal. So my friend brought a bottle of sparkling wine. Except that makes it sound second rate and it’s not. I’ve had real champagne and it’s not so good as Berlucchi.

My friend comes over really late because we both have weird work hours. And I’ve got a bunch of rotten neighbors in my apartment building. They are the kind of people who smoke and wear hideous suit jackets but get mad if you play jazz music loudly on rainy Sunday afternoons. Sunday afternoons I might add which God created expressly for the purpose of playing jazz loudly.

I was so excited about the movie, I can’t tell you. I love to write. All the heroin in Detroit couldn’t distract me from it. But this was my first paid writing. That’s not true. What I mean is, this was more money than I’d made in my entire life, all at once for something that you couldn’t stop me from doing even though it had meant eleven years of being under the poverty line. Anyway, I was excited, even though I’d just heard on the NPR that champagne (sic) corks are the sixth leading cause of household injury.

My friend knew I’ve had problems with my neighbors so he didn’t want to make any noise. He did something I’ve never seen before. He pulled off the foil from the top. He did this expertly and with flair. Like a toreador. He pulled it off in a single spiral going twice around the bottle top. Then he worked on the wire. He did this well and it came off. He put the bottle flat on the counter. He put one hand over the cork and slowly turned the bottle. I didn’t even realize what he was doing till it was done. He got the cork half out and bled the gas and then the cork was all the way out in his hand. It never made a pop. It had no chance to hurt anyone in the eye. It didn’t not spill like a fountain of candy semen and it did not disturb my neighbors.

We drank it and talked quietly about the movie and all the other movies I was gonna write now.

I think I’ll hate that rotten fucking son of a bitch for the rest of my life.

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